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The antitrust suit against Google, and more tech news you need to know today

Apple's big day is here, but the Google antitrust case is likely to have more impact but not quite as quickly.

Published onSeptember 10, 2019

Google Home Hub Max review 34

Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Tuesday, September 10, 2019! 

1. The antitrust suit against Google, and what it means

Whew. Late yesterday, 48 U.S. states plus DC and Puerto Rico, launched an unprecedented antitrust investigation into Google’s “potential monopolistic behavior,” with a focus on the search giant’s dominance in digital advertising.

What happened:

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the group’s investigation.
  • “It’s an investigation to determine the facts,” stated Paxton during a press conference outside the US Supreme Court.
  • “Right now it’s about advertising, but the facts will lead where they lead.”
  • California and Alabama are the only states not involved. A spokesperson for California’s Attorney General, where Google is based, declined to confirm or deny any state investigation.
  • The Federal U.S. Justice Department has yet to formally launch its rumored investigation into Google.

What it means:

  • Given Google’s absolute dominant position in search, and advertising, an antitrust case wasn’t exactly unexpected.
  • These things take years, not weeks, to play out, and it’s impossible to predict what might happen.
  • It’s actually amazing that Google is in the sights first, before Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, given the reach and dominance of these companies.
  • At this stage, the focus is on advertising, Alphabet’s major revenue driver, far exceeding any other venture Google is involved in, and all other ventures Google is involved in, as this chart from Quartz shows, last quarter 84% of 2019 Q2 revenue came from advertising:
graph of alphabet revenue

What other companies are saying:

  • Ever tried competing with Google, or tried ranking high in Google search results?
  • Or received daily emails from desperate folks with new businesses trying to get you to review their product or mention them, so that Google might elevate them into a position that matters when someone searches for a related keyword?
  • Yelp has been vocal in their fight to stay relevant against Google, but at the same time, I can’t exactly get behind Yelp and its dubious reputation (Lifehacker)
  • Basecamp, on the other hand, is a project management tool for teams, and isn’t an inherently dubious business.
  • Basecamp has been frustrated by competitors advertising in prominent positions when people search for Basecamp on Google, using misdirection.
  • Basecamp ran some clever ads on Google that explained their issues (Twitter), and the company’s CEO Jason Fried told CNBC, “They own that platform and they can essentially weaponize it and sell your trademarked brands against you– it feels like it does tie into anti-trust issues.”
  • Google Ads did respond on Twitter, but as one person responded: “…why can’t I use ‘Google’ as a keyword then?

A dog in the race:

  • It’s incredibly complicated, there are legitimate arguments on both sides, and in the end, this is trying to cram the genie back into the bottle. It’s not too late, but it is going to be painful for Google and Googlers.
  • My general position is that when Microsoft was broken up, it allowed the likes of Google to emerge, which gave us new and better technology, like Google Search, and Android (Axios).

2. Apple’s big day! First, all the rumors:

3. Google Play Pass is officially a thing, and it’s ‘coming soon’: app subscription service now confirmed (Android Authority).

4. Sony Xperia 5 pre-orders now open in US and Europe: $799 (Android Authority).

5. You’ll be able to try out Google Stadia for free, eventually (Android Authority).

6. These are the first apps to take advantage of the Galaxy Fold: Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, and more (Android Authority).

7. Hands-on: Vivaldi for Android is a privacy-respecting Chrome alternative (Android Authority).

8. LG’s 2019 OLED TVs are getting NVIDIA G-Sync support (The Verge). The best just gets better.

9. Amazon office workers plan to strike over company’s inaction on climate change (Gizmodo).

10. Taylor Swift ‘tried to sue’ Microsoft over the infamously corrupted and eventually racist chatbot, TayTweets (BBC).

11. “I just got an email containing all of my account passwords” (r/nostupidquestions). Worth your time for explaining these scams, and what might happen next.

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The DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun, and the daily fun element that you otherwise miss.

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